Publication details

Testing various imaging methods in assessment of hyoid bone fractures



Year of publication 2016
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Attached files
Description In the field of forensic anthropology, the hyoid bone provides important evidence on victim’s biological profile (e.g., sex or age at death) and on potential foul play, because in addition to accidental (e.g., traffic accidents, medical-rescue interventions), and self-inflicted traumas (e.g., hanging), hyoid fractures have been vastly documented in assaulted injuries (e.g., manual or ligature strangulations). Still, an unbiased diagnosis of perimortem damage can be problematic as hyoid fractures frequently occur postmortem when a laryngeal region is being harvested and examined at autopsy. The aims of the present study was to explore characteristics of peri- and post-mortem fractures in hyoid bones by a variety of available examination techniques. The studied material consisted of selected fractured hyoid bones with documented demographic profiles and mechanisms of damage. Characteristics of the observed fractures (e.g., hyoid shape, fracture angle and surface characteristics of the fracture line) were assessed on a macroscopic level using traditional and advanced approaches (macro-photography, 3D laser scanning). Furthemore, micro-CT, RTG and SEM imaging methods were employed to examine damaged regions on a microscopic level. Special attention was given to the distinctions between peri- and post-mortem fractures by observing the cortical bone microstructure (as viewed on raw CT images, and generated 3D digital models) as the bone tissue properties are believed to reflect the mechanism of damage substantially. The acquired results provide an important insight into potentials and limitations of currently available imaging techniques employable in the course of assessing hyoid bone fractures in the framework of physical and forensic anthropology.
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